Overview -- Sri Lanka

Colombo, Sri Lanka

SRI LANKA – Overview

Bilaterality characterizes the most fruitful cultural diplomacy projects, and Battery Dance Company’s relationship with Sri Lanka, beginning with its visit to Colombo in 1994, has since flourished into a profoundly symbiotic exchange.

While U.S. and Sri Lankan government funding undoubtedly played an important role in fueling these exchanges, it has been the personal relationships with Sri Lankan dancers, drummers and dance teachers that accounts for the momentum of the projects.

By following the projects from 1994 – 2006 described in this toolkit, you may gain some insights into the ways and means of initiating and nurturing artistic collaborations with cultures that, on first glance, bear no relationship to one another.

Note: Even though BDC has not had the opportunity to work in Sri Lanka since 2006, we have seen the relationship with Upeka and her family continue in unexpected and exciting ways. For example, Upeka’s niece Heshma, who is now the primary choreographer of the Chitrasena Dance Company, came to New York on an Eisenhower Fellowship in September, 2012, and interviewed Jonathan Hollander to gain from his insights on the future of dance in Sri Lanka. Heshma was a youngster when she first was exposed to Western modern dance at Battery Dance Company’s performance in Colombo. Now she is a prize-winning choreographer whose accomplishments were celebrated in a recent Joyce Theater season in New York accompanied by stellar reviews and a Bessie Award.